One of the world’s most famous couples, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, are to split – but because California law allows for ‘no fault’ divorces, one does not have to blame the other to bring their marriage to an end.
In direct contrast, in England and Wales, there are still only five ways to get a divorce and three of those involve living separately for at least two years.
If you want to get divorced quickly there is no option but to point the finger, citing adultery or unreasonable behaviour – which is often deeply upsetting for both parties.
Around 115,000 couples divorce every year, and many of these may want to simply state their marriage is over without apportioning blame, but unless they have been separated for at least two years there is no alternative but for one party to carry the can.
Conflict and recriminations
This has led many to complain that not only is this a system that encourages conflict and recrimination, it is also of limited practical value as the reasons for a divorce rarely make any difference to any financial settlement or post-split child arrangements.
Last year, Norfolk Conservative MP Richard Bacon, introduced a No Fault Divorce Bill to amend existing marriage and partnership law, making changes to both the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004. Its aim was to introduce an option to divorce through the written consent of both parties, with no requirement to attribute fault.
Resolution, an organisation of 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals in England and Wales, is also in favour of the change.
So…is the law going to change?
At the moment the Bill has faltered and is not looking like becoming law any time soon.
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